Patagonia is one of the most unexplored and most popular off-the-beaten-track destinations for the adventurous. Now, more and more, it is also appearing on the radar of superyacht owners looking to explore these uncharted waters. Located in the southern end of South America, Patagonia’s landscape is as challenging as it is diverse, and the easiest way to experience all Chile has to offer is via the water. We talked to AYSS members South American Super Yacht Support (SASYSS) to find out what makes this region spectacular.

1. Its Identity

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Since the late nineteenth century, Chilean culture has been nurtured by the arrival of immigrants from Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Palestine so it’s no surprise that over 60% of Chileans are of mixed European decent. Measuring at 4,265 kilometres, it is also one of the longest countries in the world, which explains the variety of climates one can experience from the dry north to the fertile, mild central region and the frigid south.

2. The space



Photo credit: abercrombiekent.com

Photo credit: abercrombiekent.com

Here, there are an overwhelming 1,043,076 square kilometres of impressive geography to explore; today, Patagonia remains one of the rare corners of the world still left to be discovered by our industry. It encompasses over 1,300 nautical miles from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn. For perspective alone, the Chilean portion by itself is about as large as Great Britain and is known for its spectacular rain forests, fjords, glaciers, and rivers. While many associate Patagonia with Argentina, it is, in fact, Chile, which provides the best access to see and experience the region.

3. The beginnings

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Geologists believe the region once belonged to Antarctica, and with its blue-green glaciers and fjords, it certainly looks the part. It maintains its near-mythical status with adventurers; the first humans arrived tens of thousands of years ago. Mountain, valleys, glaciers, lakes, and rivers were created millions of years ago as a result of major glaciological and geological events.

5. The routes



Photo credit: liveyachting.com

Photo credit: liveyachting.com

It’s located 3,100 nautical miles from the Panama Canal, 530 nautical miles from Antarctica, 4,200 nautical miles from Tahiti and only about 2,000 nautical miles from Easter Island which is located at the halfway point between Tahiti and Chile (and is also part of Chile by the way!). Yachts arrive from the Galapagos, Callao (Machu Picchu) and Robinson Crusoe to Puerto Montt (if arriving from the north) or Puerto Williams (coming from the south).

6. It is the ‘Land of the Big Feet’

Photo credit: wired.com

Photo credit: wired.com

Legend has it that when the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, first arrived in 1520, he found large footprints of the natives. He later described the people he met as the Patagonian giants, close to 4 meters tall. The myth of the local giants, true or not, has stuck and inspired the name of the region today.

7. The weather

October to April are the warmest months, while May to October are colder. The Chilean climate varies considerably according to latitude with a dry/hot climate in the north with a wet/windy one in the south. (A cold current cools the coastal areas.) In the southern regions, set sail between December and March when it’s dominated by westerly winds. (Northerly winds usually bring rain and poor visibility while southerlies are accompanied by clear skies.) In the north, cruise between October and March and explore Antarctica from December through February. (SASYSS can also operate here!)

8. The itinerary

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While you could plan shorter 7 to 10-day itineraries, yachts can easily spend 3-4 weeks in Patagonia. It is an ideal location to combine trips with the owner and guests on charters. From the northern route with its stunning mix of lakes, volcanoes, and temperate rain forests to Central Patagonia, the most remote area where you can navigate its fjords to the Southern route with glaciers and rich wildlife, options abound.

9. The wine

While you may think immediately of the Argentinian Malbec from Mendoza (70% of all wine comes from this area), don’t miss the smooth crisp Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo province and its lesser-known but exceptional other wine varieties waiting to be discovered. Chile has a vast and long wine heritage. Wine aficionados will be delighted to know that the Carmenere grape, originally planted in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, still grows here. (It was, in fact, the sixth grape variety of the wine thought to be extinct.) Wiped out in every other part of the world, Chile’s climate allows this grape variety to thrive. An inland excursion to wine country should be on your to-do list here. If wine isn’t your thing, try a glass of whisky or a local Pisco Sour with a thousand-year-old piece of glacier ice!

10. The safety issue

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According to the Global Peace Index, Chile is among the safest countries in South America and ranks 7th as the best country for solo travellers according to Travel + Leisure magazine. In fact, many never lock their boats, and tenders with outboards can be left at the jetty without a worry.

AYSS members, SASYSS, are superbly placed to assist yachts in Patagonia, Cape Horn, and Antarctica. No job is too big or too small for this friendly, experienced, and enthusiastic team. If you are thinking about Chile, Patagonia, Peru or any of the regions in the area, the team can guide you through the perfect itinerary for your owner or charter guests. Tomas Miranda, Captain and General Manager, with over 16 years of experience in the superyacht industry has over a hundred thousand miles of cruising under his belt. Carlos Miquel, Regional Director, is a Master of Civil Engineering and Hydraulics and has been sailing in Chile, Europe, and the US since he was a child. A competitive sailor, he is also ranked internationally and is also an expert on local wines. Ricardo Carcamo is Operations Manager. Born and raised in Patagonia, he has worked in the shipping industry since 1988 and has worked in all of the ports from Valparaiso to Puerto Williams giving him vast first-hand knowledge of all the ports and facilities in Chile. He is also secretary of the Norwegian Consulate in Punta Arenas focused on matters related to Antarctic expeditions. The South American Superyacht Support team will be at nearly every show and event in the Med and USA this year educating the industry on how to experience one of the most uninhabited areas of our planet.